Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) debt ceiling deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bypass the filibuster has sown Republican dissension and led Democrats to continue abusing the filibuster, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
McConnell struck a deal with Schumer last week to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion using a simple majority in the Senate, bypassing the Senate's 60-vote filibuster threshold.
The deal with Schumer divided Senate Republicans, as 36 Senate Republicans voted against the bill, which is three-quarters of the Republican conference.
The deal allowed Republicans, including McConnell, to claim that Democrats would solely raise the debt limit, even though 14 Republican votes enabled Democrats to raise the debt ceiling with a simple majority vote.
The deal serves as a stark contrast to McConnell's summer strategy, as the Minority Leader urged Democrats to raise the debt ceiling using reconciliation, or without Republican help. However, he struck a deal with Schumer to temporarily raise the debt ceiling in October. The Senate Republican leader then proclaimed in a letter to President Joe Biden that he would not help Schumer raise the debt ceiling. Now, McConnell's $2.5 trillion debt ceiling deal helps Schumer raise the debt ceiling likely past the 2022 midterm elections.
Although Congress raised the debt ceiling, conservatives argued that McConnell created a precedent for Democrats to justify breaking the filibuster to pass their leftist agenda, including voting rights, climate change, and gun control.
Last week, a former senior GOP aide told Breitbart News that the filibuster deal was designed to protect McConnell's "ego."
Now, many Senate Democrats said that the chamber should pass voting rights legislation, citing the filibuster carveout.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said on Tuesday ahead of the Senate floor vote that the one-time carveout shows a path toward election reform.
"We could not imagine changing the rules. Until last week, we did exactly that. This is a step … we haven't been able to take to save our broken democracy … we changed the rules to protect the full faith and credit of the United States government," Warnock said .
If Democrats can carve out the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling to avoid economic collapse for millions of American families, then we can do the same thing for voting rights. Our economy was at stake with the debt ceiling, and our democracy is at stake with voting rights. We should abolish the filibuster to provide electoral integrity at the ballot box and take action now to enshrine the will and voices of the American people.
Schumer said he is pushing Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to back filibuster reform to pass voting rights legislation.
"There is a strong belief in the Senate that we can restore the Senate and at the same time deal with voting rights, and that's what we're aiming to do," Schumer said Tuesday.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) argued on the Senate floor last week that the filibuster deal would be "one more tool" to "abuse the American people:"
This debt ceiling bill is a blank check for the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill. pic.twitter.com/aNYhbVDos7
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 9, 2021
Lee said in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News that the filibuster carveout led to Democrats already calling for more carveouts, contending that it could lead to disastrous results.
"The effect was practically immediate. Before we had even voted to raise the debt ceiling, Democratic senators were already calling for other filibuster carveouts," Lee explained to Breitbart News. "If these carveouts were to become the new norm, the Senate as we know it would quickly cease to exist."
Senate Republican criticism of McConnell's move did not solely come from rank-and-file Republicans.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, has criticized McConnell's move ever since the Minority Leader struck the deal with Schumer.
"You charged up the hill, turned around, and no one was there, and you stabbed us in the back," Graham told McConnell last week, according to a senior GOP aide.
Graham said on the Senate floor last week that these types of legislative deals "led to Donald Trump:"
Although McConnell has been widely regarded as a master political tactician, many Republicans have questioned his recent political strategy.
"This is a pretty short-sighted decision for someone who talks so much about playing the long game," a senior Senate GOP aide told Breitbart News. Maybe Mitch has lost his nerve."
Another senior GOP aide told Breitbart News, "The Senate barely passed this debt limit filibuster gimmick before Democrats started talking about using it for other things. We eroded the filibuster last week – there's no way around that. Democrats are trying to make that erosion permanent. All of this was short-sighted, and I think down the road everyone who voted for this erosion is going to regret it. If Democrats continue to erode or do away with the filibuster, they are going to regret it down the road when Republicans are in charge."
This monstrosity of a bill also allows the debt ceiling to go up with a simple majority vote. Republican leadership, which ostensibly guards the filibuster, is allowing this bill to neuter the filibuster with respect to the debt ceiling. The bill sets a precedent that the debt ceiling can be raised without requiring a supermajority — a big concession.
Former President Donald Trump blasted McConnell; the 45th president said in a statement last week:
Mitch McConnell, the Broken Old Crow, has just conceded, for absolutely nothing and for no reason, the powerful Debt Ceiling negotiating block, which was the Republicans' first-class ticket for victory over the Democrats.
Trump added, "He was afraid to play that card even though, without question, they would have completely FOLDED on the Build Back Worse Bill, which will destroy the fabric of our Country and virtually anything else that the Republicans wanted."
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3 .
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